Unlike a number of other nursing roles, community nurses generally administer care to individuals in a non-hospital setting. This could include residential care homes or GP surgeries and adds a great deal of variety to the role.
If you think you have the empathy and flexibility required to thrive in a community nursing job, then we’ve outlined some tips below to help get your career into community nursing on the move.
Entry requirements for community nursing.
Becoming a community nurse normally requires you to have between one and two years’ professional experience as an adult nurse, which means you will have previously acquired a degree approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
If you have gained the requisite experience and want to transition to a community nursing role you must then undertake a specialised training programme. Course titles will vary based on institution and content, but will usually cover a variety of practical and study-based elements, including leadership skills, community practice and care management. Following completion of the course, which may take the form of either a shortened undergraduate or postgraduate degree, individuals will be registered as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse or similar job title.
The length of training will depend on whether you choose to study for your community nursing programme full-time or part-time. Courses will usually last between one and two years and can include more than 100 days practical experience and give nurses the opportunity to manage a small caseload under supervision.
When undertaking the community nursing study programme, individuals may choose to fund themselves or they may be able to find a vacancy via the NHS jobs website that allows them to complete paid work while achieving their qualification.
Job duties and career development.
As a community or district nurse, your duties would primarily involve visiting clients regularly to assess and respond to their needs. Your care plays a vital role in ensuring that patients do not need to visit the hospital as often and allows them to spend less time away from home. You will often be dealing with the elderly, disabled or individuals with a terminal illness, so nurses will need to be calm, patient and non-judgmental.
Typical day-to-day duties may include:
- Providing and administering drugs and injections
- Carrying out physical examinations
- Providing advice and support to patients and family members
- Running medical clinics
- Teaching basic care to others
- Carrying out a range of emergency medical procedures
In order to be a successful community nurse, there are a number of skills you will need to develop. Due to the variety of settings and patients that you will manage, individuals must be flexible and relatable. You will also need to be calm under pressure, confident and possess excellent communication skills. Being well organised and a precise timekeeper is also vital, as with any care role. From a logistic point-of-view, many community nurses also have a driving licence to help them reach their clients.
After gaining some intial experience as a community nurse, individuals will find plenty of opportunities for career progression. You could find yourself leading a team of more junior nurses or taking up a position as a community matron, which comes with a number of additional training and leadership responsibilities. If you need any advice or support in how to progress your nursing career, Randstad Care can provide expert advice to ensure that your dream job becomes a reality.